Trump: ‘No WH chaos’; Re­al­ity: Mas­sive WH chaos

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY JOSEPH CURL Joseph Curl has cov­ered pol­i­tics for 25 years, in­clud­ing 12 years as White House correspondent at The Wash­ing­ton Times. He can be reached at josephcurl@gmail.com and on Twit­ter @josephcurl.

On tonight’s episode of “As The Trump World Turns,” special in­ves­ti­ga­tor Robert Mueller’s Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion is heat­ing up, feud­ing Repub­li­cans fail to get any­thing done on health care, Pres­i­dent Trump’s ap­proval rat­ing plunges, the pres­i­dent is pub­licly bash­ing his own at­tor­ney gen­eral, and the White House is in ab­so­lute melt­down, with two long­time staffers fired in dra­matic fash­ion (the tears flow!).

That’s what’s re­ally hap­pen­ing. Yet on Mon­day, Trump had the au­dac­ity to tweet: “No WH chaos.” In re­al­ity, the only con­stant in the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion to date has been chaos — and, as of­ten hap­pens with chaos, it’s all get­ting more chaotic.

The White House is in full im­plo­sion. And never in the his­tory of pol­i­tics — I mean all the way back to Ro­man times — has any­one im­ploded the way An­thony Scara­mucci did.

The Mooch was hired as the new White House com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor, and on July 21 ap­peared in the brief­ing room to take ques­tions from re­porters. A brash, crude lit­tle man — a per­fect “Mini-Me” for Mr. Trump if ever there was one — Scary Moochy yam­mered away in his New Yawker ac­cent, hold­ing court like a street per­former, and even blew a kiss to the crowd at the end of his pre­miere.

But The Mooch is an an­gry guy — very an­gry. He pub­licly vowed to fire ev­ery­one in the com­mu­ni­ca­tions depart­ment, al­ready rife with leaks. And in a pro­fane con­ver­sa­tion with a re­porter (ap­par­ently The Mooch doesn’t know how to go off the record), he called then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus a “f---ing para­noid schiz­o­phrenic” and a “para­noiac.” He also said he’s noth­ing like top White House strate­gist Steve Ban­non, us­ing an un­print­able metaphor for self-re­gard. Ten days later, he was an ex-White House of­fi­cial.

Just six months into of­fice, there have been 16 high-pro­file depar­tures from the White House and the ad­min­is­tra­tion. The Mooch may not have been high pro­file, but his sud­den rise to power and thun­der­ing crash into the dust­bin of his­tory is em­blem­atic of what plagues this White House and the en­tire Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Ev­ery­thing that can go wrong is go­ing wrong. The Se­nate failed to pass the “skinny re­peal” of Oba­macare, with Sen. John McCain vot­ing against it (the same Mr. McCain, a bona fide war hero, whom Trump mocked dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign by say­ing he likes “peo­ple who weren’t cap­tured”). Mr. Trump is whip­ping Jeff Ses­sions, ap­par­ently bent on forc­ing his own at­tor­ney gen­eral to quit. Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser H.R. McMaster is “in­creas­ingly iso­lated” — at least to CNN — and Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son, pub­licly thumped by Mr. Trump, de­cided to take time off last week, spurring ru­mors that he’ll be the next rat to flee the sink­ing ship.

All this, as it al­ways does, comes from the top (a fish rots from the head down, says the an­cient proverb). As the newly ap­pointed press sec­re­tary Sarah Huck­abee San­ders said af­ter Sean Spicer was fired: “The pres­i­dent, as al­ways, en­joys healthy com­pe­ti­tion.” And Mr. Trump can be a petty man: An un­named source re­cently told The Wash­ing­ton Post that Mr. Trump once sum­moned Mr. Priebus to the Oval Of­fice and told him to kill a fly that was buzzing over­head.

In the sieve-like White House, ev­ery­one’s talk­ing — which is never good. One White House ad­viser told The Daily Beast that “the pres­i­dent specif­i­cally gave [Mr. Scara­mucci] the green light to go af­ter Reince.” Oth­ers are qui­etly phon­ing up re­porters to tell them the daily goings on — and there are a lot of sub­plots in this chaotic White House, with nearly ev­ery­one there be­liev­ing they’re the real star of this out­ra­geous re­al­ity show.

But Mr. Trump’s power is di­min­ish­ing by the day. Swept into of­fice on what felt like a man­date from work­ing Amer­i­cans sick of pol­i­tics as usual, Mr. Trump has al­ready lost his clout with GOP law­mak­ers on Capi­tol Hill. They now openly defy him — on health care, of course, but also on Rus­sia sanc­tions, Mr. Trump’s sud­den ban on trans­gen­der peo­ple in the mil­i­tary, and more. Said Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham, “This is not drain­ing the swamp. What he’s in­ter­ject­ing is turn­ing democ­racy up­side down.”

Mr. Trump, to be sure, loves the chaos. It’s how he’s wired. Yet while the nar­cis­sis­tic non­politi­cian neo­phyte could still pull out some leg­isla­tive ac­com­plish­ments, he also knows things are get­ting away from him, fast. Why else bring in a four-star gen­eral, John F. Kelly — who knows next to noth­ing about the day-to-day work­ings of a White House — to run the show?

One thing is clear: The chaos is tak­ing a toll. The most re­cent Ras­mussen poll puts Mr. Trump’s ap­proval rat­ing at 39 per­cent. He’s los­ing some of the very peo­ple who voted for him. And Mr. Trump doesn’t like los­ing, not one bit.

It’s only been six months since Mr. Trump moved into the White House, but it sure seems like a long time ago that he said: “We’re go­ing to win so much, you’re go­ing to get tired of win­ning.”

In­stead, we’re all just a bit weary of all the chaos, aren’t we?

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

An­thony Scara­mucci was the White House com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor for 11 days. He was a “Mini-Me” for Pres­i­dent Trump dur­ing his ten­ure.

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